LED Lighting is the Future

LED Bulb-1It’s been 6 months since we launched our LED Lighting range and what an amazing response we’ve had. Customers have been loving the power that these lights give and the small fan and thermal cut-out means these lights won’t overheat which is a great asset in a studio setting.

The LED colour panels have also been popular with everyone as they are so versatile and if you haven’t already seen our introductory videos on these then do check them out for more information on the panels or lighting kits.

This is our LED Lighting playlist on youtube

All our LED range are compatible with the studio accessories we stock and there are some great kits we have put together incorporating these. We have single lighting heads and soft boxes all the way to our three head kits with boom arm and accessories. If there is something you would like to see we would love to hear from you and will do our best to accommodate your requests.

With the Christmas season upon us we would like to thank all our customers this year and wish you all a very happy and prosperous new year. We are entering our 11th year here at Smick and will continue to bring you innovative and versatile kits and accessories to enhance all your photographic needs.

LED Bulbs a new innovation

LED Bulb-1We now have LED photographic bulbs the next innovation in continuous lighting for video or still shots. About 10 years ago we introduced photographic compact fluorescent bulbs to the UK and coined the phrase Daylight balanced bulb. It seems now that everyone sells them and uses our phrase so we are now introducing to the UK and Europe mains ES screw fit LED bulbs, they are 5500k and have a CRI of 90 and come in 2 strengths 25 watt and 45 watt.

The bulbs are very powerful and there are panel of 25 watts which one of our bulbs is and the 45 watt bulb the costs are very much lower than a panel would cost. Although the LED bulbs are sold separately we sell these as LED Supersoftbox and this has 2 25w bulbs in each head the light output is stronger than the 4 x 50w CFL bulbs we had and 2 x 45w LED bulbs in the head give out as much light as 5 of our 105w CFL bulbs.

So any bulb holder with ES screw fit can take one of our LED bulbs, old lighting can be transformed, the good thing about these bulbs is they are smaller and more robust than the compact fluorescent bulb. They can be stored easily and will take a knock and unlike CFL bulbs which loose power over time the LED bulb outputs the same light throughout its life.

LED Category

Compact Fluorescent Daylight Balanced bulbs

We have 105w daylight balanced bulba big range of Micansu compact fluorescent bulbs and we are glad to announce that the 105W bulb all with ES or E27 fitting are on Special Offer.

We were the first company to sell compact fluorescent photographic bulbs in the UK and use the phrase Daylight Balanced Bulbs, ours are 5500k colour temperature ideal for still photography and for video.

Just like a fluorescent light but coiled around into a small package. If you already have one of our light units such as the Supersoftbox series then you can replace the 50w bulbs it comes with and use the 105w which will give you much more light. Using these bulbs in your softbox lighting kits means more versatility with your exposure, you can have your lights further away.

105w Compact fluorescent bulbs

 

Product Photography using Slave Flash

Use this low cost kit to do your product photography, with slave flash you don’t have to worry about the ambient light. It’s great for taking product shots to put on ebay or your own website.

We show you by lowering the power in your on camera flash you can trigger the slave flash without effecting the subject. There is also a sync lead which connects to a PC socket most cameras do not have this so an extra adapter is required to attach to the cameras hot shoe.

This is very versatile and allows you to have a smaller aperture so that you have a good depth of field so that items are in focus.

Portrait Photography Tutorial Using Mains Slave Flash

Slave Flash

Mains slave flash is a great way to get into portrait photography at a very low cost.

The Slave Flash Portrait kit is in the 2 head flash category in our eCommerce site, the kit comes with 2 shoot through umbrella’s, 2 bulb holders, 2 slave flash and 2 light stands. With this kit you can start portrait photography you can use one light to light your subject and one light to light the background or use a main light and a keylight. You can also use the second light as a hair light there are so many options.

We have made a video to show how this can be used.

 

 

Video Tips

videotips front Most people that own a DSLR now have the capability of 1080p video which is HD video and so we have made a video with the basics which demystify your settings and get you going.

 

In the video we will explore video lighting and its worth noting that on YouTube we have a video lighting playlist, in  fact we have about 75 videos on our YouTube channel.

Tip no 1 is get some lights for  inside, we have many kits for all pockets and have a seperate category.

Tip no 2 is to set your focus to manual, this allows you to focus normally there is an aid on the live view screen of the camera so you can get pin point sharpness.

Tip no 3 set you camera to manual and set your frame rate, we use 25 frames a second so our exposure is double that at 50th sec, you should always keep this ratio to get good video. If you want more technical detail it is out there somewhere.

Tip no 4 Choose your depth of field, a wide open aperture will give you a small depth of field and f16 will give you a bigger depth of field which really means more of the subject is in focus.

Tip no 5 Use a small ISO something like 100 ISO as this will give you a much better quality than a high ISO, most of our videos are shot in 200 ISO. With your ISO and aperture these are balanced to give you a correct exposure.

Tip no 6 Get a good audio system and do not use the microphone on the camera. There is nothing worse than bad audio on a video, you can get a microhone to plug into your smartphone or use a shotgun mic on the camera.

Tip no 7 Use neutral density filters or variable neutral density filters, this gives you the ability in bright light to adjust you aperture and ISO so that you can get the result you want in the video we have a visual of how a variable neutral density filter alters the exposure.

Tip no 8 Stabilise your camera, a tripod is the best method but if the camera needs to move then there’s lots on the market to choose from.

Tip no 9 Look directly into the camera this helps you engage with the viewer and makes it much more natural.

Tip no 10 Have a script or an outline, this is important so you don’t miss anything out and you will know ahead of time what is going in to your video.

 

RAW edit in Lightroom 5 from Dull to Vibrant

Lightroom editWere amazed at how powerful Lightroom 5 is these days with great RAW processing tools, it has now become a staple in our image processing. Lightroom is not only a RAW processor but has several different modules and the library function we find is irreplaceable to organise your files, there are 7 modules in all and you can build a website directly from Lightroom.

The export function is also very handy as you set the parameters of an export and then save it as a preset to use at a later date, it will remember all your setting and you can have as many presets as you want. If you haven’t tried it already then you can get a trial version which will last for 30 days.

Mick Sadler has produced a video of a RAW file edit that you might find interesting and we are making the files available to download on this page.

Download files here

Here is the video

 

 

Product photography Large items

product photography2 Light Studio Lighting and Umbrella continuous lighting kit

We have a lot of product photography kits and most of these are smaller items. If you need to do large items you can use the Supersoftbox Kits but we have a really simple method.

This consists of using shoot through umbrellas and using the 125w bulbs to give you a wider area of light. This kit comes with 2 stands, 2 ceramic bulb holders, 2 125w bulbs, 2 white shoot through umbrellas and we also include 2 silver umbrellas.

So you set your camera on ISO 100, aperture priority and this allows you to set your aperture, you want to go to an aperture of about f11 to give you some depth of field the camera will decide your exposure, you may need to use exposure compensation if the camera is seeing a lot of white or black.

This is a very versatile kit, you need to set you camera on a tripod as the exposure will be longer than you can hand hold, so you can shoot large items room scenes and most product photography that you need to do. We have made a video to illustrate this kit

 

November Offer Flash Sale

Flash Sale

With lots of new products arriving before the Christmas period really kicks off, this month for a limited time only are offering 10% off any product on our website for customers in the UK & Europe. This is a limited offer and will end on 9th November so you need to be quick so go to our ecommerce site now.

All items are available including Studio Flash kits, all accessories and Strobe accessories.

Our most popular kit at the moment video lighting kit Supersoftbox 3 head kit; we also have the more powerful Supersoftbox 4 and Supersoftbox 5 kits available. These are good if you need to light a bigger area or to improve your exposure. If you already have a Supersoftbox kit this can be transformed into a Supersoftbox 4 by using 105w Daylight bulbs which can be found in the Studio Accessories section on our website.

Just type: NOVFLASH on the shopping basket page once you’ve picked your items, remember to update the cart and the discount will appear.

We have some great new DSLR video kits coming towards the end of November and some of our current out of stock items will also be restocked at this time so keep looking out on our product pages.

Supersoftbox 4 – 2 light set up

supersoftbox 4 kit2 Light Supersoftbox 4 Set Up

Video Lighting can be expensive if you have to light the background and light the subject, here we light the background and the subject with just a 2 Light Supersoftbox 4 kit. The video shows you just how to do it wether you are green screening or using a different background.

We show you how using just a 2 Light Supersoftbox 4 kit how to use a Chroma Key Green Screen backdrop for interview style videos, by the use of relatively powerful lights then Chroma Key can be achieved in any basic keying software. If you are using Premiere Pro or Final cut Pro x then this will be a breeze.

Next we show using the 2 lights on a plain background, due to the inverse square law the light does fall off but it is not that much and can be used anywhere on any type of background. Any wall can be used for this we are 75cm away to avoid any nasty shadows and this is only using 2 of our Supersoftbox 4 lights. We also have the Supersoftbox 4 with 80cm octagonal softboxes which can give a circular highlight in the eyes. You can add a third light as a hair light which can be useful for a light on the hair and shoulders.

This is the link to the original Supersoftbox 4 blog post and video http://www.smick.co.uk/index.php/video-lighting-kits/

In the video we use the Choma Key popup green backdrop and also the white muslin backdrop and background support with telescopic pole.